Wine Wipes,or, Don’t Be a PTC

When I moved to Napa for wine school, I learned the unfortunate term “PTC,” as a caution against walking around after a wine tasting with purple teeth. PTCs are ‘purple-teethed cougars’ named for their love of big Napa Cabernet and handsome younger men. Hey, nice work if you can get it! Interestingly, there is no male equivalent for this term, even though I’ve been hit on quite a bit by older men who like full-bodied reds. Fascinating.

I do now spend a large part of my professional life tasting and spitting wine into a bucket. Then a lot of times I have to clean the bucket. It’s a glamorous life, but someone has to live it. One of the pitfalls of tasting so much wine is that often by the end of a day with a lot of tasting appointments, I have very purple teeth. If you have to go out in public amongst normal people after this, it can be an issue – no one wants to look like a PTC, after all.

These little guys looked like the perfect solution for the days when I forget a toothbrush and toothpaste at work and I’m going out afterwards, or when I have a trade tasting to go to and I’m meeting friends afterwards.


Wine Wipes look kind of like little stridex pads, and come in this little compact with a mirror, so you can check that you’ve wiped all of your teeth. Cute, right? They also claim to be formulated with special botanicals so that wiping your teeth won’t interfere with any subsequent wine or food you might consume.

My coworkers agreed to try these out with me after a long day of tasting appointments. The compact took me forever to get open, but I think that was probably just me being a klutz. My boss and I each took a little pad from the container and began wiping our teeth, which in and of itself is kind of a weird thing to do.

But the worst part was that they tasted TERRIBLE. Seriously one of the worst things I’ve ever put in my mouth. Queue dirty joke here. Whatever those ‘botanicals,’ are, the plant they’re made from must be poisonous. Good god. They did work, though. We managed to wipe a little red off our teeth, but we didn’t get very much off because we couldn’t stand having that awful bitter, chemically taste in our mouths for one second more than we had to. I wish I’d have gotten a picture of my boss’ face. I don’t think I’ve ever seen him more disgusted, even tasting bad California Chardonnay.

So, if you’re not put off by a truly awful tasting product, Wine Wipes might be for you. They come in adorable packaging and they do work, but because they taste so terrible, they’d make an awful gift because whomever you give it to will think you secretly hate them.

Not the greatest holiday gift idea, I know. My book isn’t edible, but I bet even if you did lick it it would taste better than these godawful Wine Wipes.


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